The Syndicate

The Pictures was author Guy Bolton’s entry into pure, noir fiction. The read was golden as it was retro. Why then does his follow-up, The Syndicate, lack any of that LA snap? The Pictures was smooth, single-malt brewed to a James Cain beat. As a sequel, The Syndicate is as memorable as that last Coors…

November Road

Beautifully efficient. That is how I described Lou Berney’s writing style to my wife referencing his latest, and allow me to add the hyperbole of masterful, book November Road. Within November Road, Berney fashions the perfect genre mashup. The tale is a first-rate crime story, that’s also a chase story, joined with a love story,…

Debris Line

The thriller Debris Line interchanges the sunny, idyllic life of coastal Portugal, crashing it into a star-spangled actioneer of drugs, hijacking, murder, and oh yes, crimes even more sinister. Matthew FitzSimmons runs his dangerous version of To Catch A Thief by placing his team of semi-retired hackers and military ops at play on vacation and…

Wrecked

Joe Ide opens Wrecked, the latest of his neo-noir IQ series, with the book’s protagonist in a world of trouble. For Isaiah Quintabe, the eponymous hero of Ide’s novels, his world consists of the mean streets of LA. Yet, hot to help a desperate artist track down her long-lost mommy, IQ’s world expands as he…

The Pictures

Along with the built-in worldwide adoration, actors during Hollywood’s Golden Years apparently had immediate and abundant access to booze, drugs, and illicit women, all of which was enjoyed at a premium. Woe, however, to the john caught, for if the studio’s fixer couldn’t provide an out, the mob would, particularly with a bullet, knife, and/or…

Brighton

Brighton is a gritty whodunit murder mystery wrapped in the backdrop of a working man’s crime story – and I loved every minute of reading it. Michael Harvey has been compared to Elmore Leonard, and high-praise aside, that’s a fair enough assessment. Harvey generates seedy characters aplenty, writes quick, crisp dialogue with a lightning-fast plot….

Lightning Men

Thomas Mullen certainly gives his readers the service they want with Lightning Men. Building off the previous novel, Darktown, Mullen goes deeper into the plight of Boggs and Smith and their careers as Atlanta’s first African-American police officers. He builds on the story of Officer Denny Rakestraw, a white officer who is not totally opposed…

IQ

Sherlock Holmes updates are a plenty in the early 21st century. Guy Ritchie’s take has RDJ as a bare-fisted fighter. Steven Moffat’s Sherlock, like any Millennial, is glued to his Smartphone while Watson is married to a superspy. Then comes author Joe Ide whose eponymous character is a young, black man in LA solving crimes…

No Poison in this Sequel

Sometimes, sequels can be better than the starting off point, a fact that many Marvel movies can attest, as the origin-telling, that whole world building, has been set and accomplished. The sequel, if done properly, allows the protagonist to grow; to breathe and evolve. Success to Matthew FitzSimmons, then, as his second Gibson Vaughn novel,…